On some of the misdirection runs executed to perfection by Catholic in its 40-6 rout of McKinley Friday at Olympia Stadium, the Panthers may still be trying to figure out who had the ball.
Catholic ripped the McKinley defense for 385 yards — 306 in the first half — and the Bears (4-2, 2-0 in 5-5A) were able to start playing reserves before halftime, scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions.
Most of the yards came in what Catholic coach Dale Weiner calls the “spin series,” a series of fakes and handoffs out of the shotgun that bears a striking resemblance to the old single-wing offense.
“It’s the best we’ve run it, and to be honest with you, it’s the first night we’ve run it (this season),” Weiner said. “We practice it all the time, but I decided it would be district until we actually started running it.”
And run it, the Bears did. Pretty much at will.
Running back Khalil Thomas rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries and added another touchdown receiving to lead the Bears. Sophomore Derrius Guice added 72 rushing yards and two scores on seven carries. Quarterback Nick Coomes kept three times for 41 yards and a touchdown and added 50 yards and another touchdown on 5-for-5 passing.
On the spin series, one running back lines up next to Coomes and the other comes in motion. Coomes takes the shotgun snap and either hands off to a back going one direction, or fakes it and spins to either hand off or fake to the back going the other way. Or, he fakes both and keeps up the middle or steps back to pass.
More often then not, whichever option was chosen resulted in a ball carrier running free in the open field on a night in which Catholic rushed for 335 yards on 36 attempts.
“I like the fact that we play-action with success, and we can run it inside, outside,” Weiner said. “We aren’t always going to execute like that; that’s the reality of football. But tonight was our night.”
So dominant was Catholic early, it gained double-digit yards on 12 of 22 first-half snaps en route to building a 34-0 halftime lead. It quickly turned to 40-0 after McKinley fumbled the second-half kickoff, setting up an 8-yard touchdown run by Ben Braymer, Catholic’s backup quarterback, three plays later.
The spin series wasn’t the only problem for McKinley (4-3, 1-1), which had five fumbles, three lost, and managed just six yards rushing.
“We weren’t ready,” McKinley coach Robert Signater admitted. “And you can’t expect to win against a good team if you aren’t playing 100 percent ready.”
Coomes scored from 21 yards out for the first Bears touchdown, then Guice added a 21-yard touchdown of his own for a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Coomes hit Thomas for a 1-yard touchdown pass to start the second quarter, then Guice added a 20-yard touchdown run and Thomas an 8-yard run to cap the first-half scoring on a series that featured primarily Bears reserves.
So effective was Catholic, it kept churning yards even as the reserves took over. Reserve running back Adam Prevot added 59 yards on nine carries, all in the second half.
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